ARC Review: Paper Hearts

Paper Hearts (Hearts #2) by Claire Contreras

Publication Date: September 9, 2015

Synopsis:

It’s been six years since Jensen broke Mia’s heart and in turn broke his own. Now, he has a chance to make things right. He has a chance to prove they are still meant for each other. Jensen’s going to do everything in his power to get back the love of his life.

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Shortly after its release, Colleen Hoover posted a picture of the cover of Kaleidoscope Hearts on her Facebook page telling her fans to read it. I was looking for something to read and since I admire CoHo, I decided to give it a try. I absolutely loved the book. It started me on a Claire Contreras reading frenzy. I went on to read four of her books in a row.

I had no idea Ms. Contreras was coming out with a sequel to Kaleidoscope Hearts. When I randomly saw the novella Torn Hearts on Amazon, I freaked out. I couldn’t believe I was getting Mia’s story! I read it and was disappointed that it was just a build up to Paper Hearts. I loved it and I wanted to know where Mia and Jenson’s story was going so bad. I didn’t want to wait!

Luckily, I didn’t have to wait to long. I follow Claire Contreras on Goodreads and got a notification there was a group dedicated to her works forming. I joined and not too long after was given the opportunity to request an ARC of Paper Hearts. I was elated when it showed up on my Kindle! I started reading it right away.

The first half of Paper Hearts was hard for me to read. Gone was the Mia I fell in love with in Torn Hearts. It was uncomfortable to be trapped in her post-Jensen head. I understood her thoughts, feelings and reactions. It’s hard to move on from someone you have loved so deeply. It just wasn’t as fun to read as I was expecting. It honestly felt like I was going through it myself.

It wasn’t until Mia started to let her guard down and let the feelings she was holding onto go that I truly became addicted to the story. I was surprised by how much empathy I felt toward Jensen. I wasn’t expecting that. I loved the way he tried to win Mia back. And even though it was hard to read, I love that Mia took the time to examine her feelings.

Paper Hearts was a beautifully written second chance romance. NA and contemporary romance readers who enjoy heartbreaking tales of love will enjoy this one. It definitely brings out all of the feels.

Just a quick note: You must at least read Torn Hearts prior to reading Paper Hearts . It’s a prequel novella and it will give you the history behind Mia and Jensen. It’s amazing!

**Thank you to the author for allowing me the opportunity to read and honestly review Paper Hearts.

Other books in this series:

 

Crossroads

Crossroads by Thomma Lyn Grindstaff

Publication Date: August 8, 2015

Synopsis:

Monie and Rob aren’t just high school sweethearts, they’re childhood sweethearts. They started as best buddies in sixth grade and their friendship quickly turned to love. Monie and Rob have been planning their Life Script together for years:

  1. graduate college
  2. get married
  3. go to law school
  4. start a practice
  5. have kids.

But as college graduation day draws near, Monie’s having second thoughts about the Life Script she’s followed for so long. Monie’s afraid that if she doesn’t at least try her dreams of being a guitarist, she might regret the Life Script she’s chosen — and Rob, too.

Following her dream is harder than it sounds, though. First, she has to come clean with both Rob and her parents. Then, she has to call the number for the guitarist ad she found. She knows she’s good enough to be in the band, Monie just needs to face her fears of losing Rob and the life she’s wanted since she was a child.

Can Monie have both an exciting career and the man she loves?

My rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Crossroads is a novel about a young woman wanting the best of both worlds. She wants her comfortable, loving relationship with the man who’s always been there with and for her. But she also wants to follow her dreams and try something completely new and exciting.

Thomma Lyn Grindstaff did an excellent job at portraying Monie’s emotions. It was very easy to relate to Monie’s confusion over the path her life should take. As much as she loved Rob, she knew following his dreams would mean losing her own. I loved that she didn’t compromise herself for him.

The one part of this story that has been stuck in my head since I finished Crossroads is Rob’s reaction to Monie wanting to be in the band. I actually felt like I could relate to Rob even more than Monie. I mean, why would Rob want Monie to join a band and potentially leave him? Why would he want to her be around a band full of guys she will probably have chemistry with? His frustrations made total sense to me.

So, while I loved that Monie was going to follow her dreams, I hated the position she put Rob in. At first, I thought he was being a jerk. As the story progressed, I started to agree with him. The doubts he shared had me questioning the ending of the story. I also felt like the troubles they were having would have resulted in more tears and emotion than Monie was having. I started to wonder if she really did want to save her relationship. I would have been distracted from finals and losing it.

Crossroads was nicely wrapped up, but it was missing a little something for me. I don’t want to give away the story, so I’ll just say it’s the reaction Rob didn’t have toward a big something toward the end that I didn’t get. Honestly, I see more trouble on the horizon for Rob and Monie. I would be interested in seeing where their story goes from here.

I would recommend Crossroads to New Adult readers who enjoy steamy coming of age stories.

**Thank you to Thomma Lyn Grindstaff for the opportunity to read and honestly review Crossroads.

ARC Review: This Is One Moment

 This Is One Moment by Mila Gray

Publication Date: September 10, 2015

Publisher: Pan Macmillan

Synopsis:

Didi’s always wanted a romance like her parents have, a romance worthy of the movies. She wants the fairytale. Didi thinks she’s found it with Hollywood heartthrob, Zac Ridgemont. He’s everything Didi thinks a man should be.

But then, while completing an internship at a military hospital, she meets Noel Walker. Walker’s wounds aren’t just on the outside, they’re on the inside as well. He’s frustrated as hell and all Didi wants is to be able to help him. Well, help him and jump his bones.

Didi knows she can’t fall for a patient. It would ruin her future career. But she can’t seem to put enough distance between herself and Walker. There’s just something about him that makes her willing to push her boundaries.

Just when Didi and Walker are beginning to act on their feelings for each other, their lives are twisted out of control. It leaves them both wondering whether their relationship is worth fighting for.

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

This Is One Moment had me from the prologue. I had to know how it fit into the story. I would say it drove me continue reading, but that’s not true. The entire story is what drove me to continue reading. I loved it. It was fast-paced and deep.

While Didi’s quest for true love was sweet, it was Walker’s struggles that poked at my heart. He was dealing with so much. I hurt for him. I loved the interactions he had with Sanchez, Jose and Callum. And, of course, Walker and Didi were beyond hot.

This Is One Moment would have been a 5 star book for me had it not been for a couple of scenes toward the end of the book. I don’t want to give anything away, but Didi’s actions made me a little sick. They showed an immaturity I didn’t see from her in the rest of the book. In the end, her actions didn’t seem to matter but I think the book would have been better without them.

Overall, I found This Is One Moment to be an extremely moving book about a veteran recovering from war and finding strength to move on–and love. I loved it and hope other NA readers will as well.

**I received a digital copy of This Is One Moment from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Restless Waters

Restless Waters (Left Drowning #2) by Jessica Park

Publication Date: August 26, 2015

Publisher: Flat Finn, Inc.

Synopsis:

Blythe McGuire has finally moved on from the dark past that haunts her. Thanks to her boyfriend Chris and the rest of the Shepherd family, she’s found happiness again. She’s found love and the sense of family she lost.

Her peaceful future doesn’t last long, though. Blythe can tell a storm is brewing in her best friend and Chris’ brother, Sabin. As Sabin begins to pull away from their close friendship, Blythe worries his past may be catching up with him. Blythe wants nothing more than to help Sabin, but will helping him ruin the peacefulness she’s finally found?

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Jessica Park is a book writing genius. Her writing is so emotional and, at times, devastating. She knows how to pull me in and get me all worried about her characters. Then, in the most unique and intriguing way, she makes everything all better. Well, as better as it can ever get for her damaged characters.

When I originally read Left Drowning, I was overwhelmed. I don’t think I had read any other book at the time that left me feeling such, well feelings. There were so many of them: sad, devastated, happy, hopeful. Left Drowning was such an emotional rollercoaster and I absolutely loved it. It’s a book I’ve recommended to most of my friends time and time again.

When I opened my Twitter account on August 27th and saw Tweets about Jessica Park pulling a Beyonce and releasing a sequel to Left Drowning, I immediately went to Amazon and downloaded it. Nothing could have stopped me from reading Restless Waters. I needed to know how some of my favorite characters were doing.

Blythe and the Shepherds seemed okay at first, but then Sabin really started to worry me. He was far from okay. What he was going through scared me. I worried the happiness everyone had finally found was going to blow up in my face. I’m not going to tell you what happens and ruin it, but it was very emotional and sometimes stressful. Don’t worry, there was some happiness, too.

I truly loved Restless Waters. Once again, Jessica Park has written a book that tears me apart and then puts me back together in the best way possible. For that reason, Jessica Park will always be one of my favorite authors. If you haven’t read Left Drowning and Restless Waters (or any of her books, really) you’re missing out.

Other books in this series:

Blurred Lines

Blurred Lines by Lauren Layne

Publication Date: August 25, 2015

Publisher: Loveswept

Synopsis:

Parker Blanton and Ben Olson have been platonic best friends since they met their freshman year of college. It’s a shock to everyone they meet. After all, Parker’s a hot chick and Ben’s extremely handsome. Why wouldn’t they be hooking up? They even live together. Truth is, they’re happy being best friends. Parker’s had a serious boyfriend, Lance, for 5 years and Ben is a self-declared ladies man.

All of that changes when Lance dumps Parker. Now, Parker’s on a quest to find a no-strings-attached hook up. She looks to Ben for advice, but quickly decides she may not be up to casual sex with strangers. But what about casual sex with someone she knows? Someone she trusts–like Ben.

Ben and Parker are determined to keep their friendship the same while having casual sex together. It works great until Lance wants Parker back. Will they still have their friendship when they no longer have sex?

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I have to admit I love friends to lovers stories. There’s just something about two friends who already enjoy and care for each other falling in love. Maybe it’s just the romantic in me, but I find this type of story so sweet.

It was more than just sweet, though. It was steamy. Ben and Parker had major chemistry. (Fans self.) Their connection with each other was off the charts. I honestly can’t believe they waited six years to hook up! How did they not have any sexual tension? I get that Parker had a boyfriend, but there had to be some sort of sparks! 😉

I think New Adult readers will enjoy Blurred Lines. It’s a fun story filled with friendship, love and sex.

Sweet

Sweet (Contours of the Heart #3) by Tammara Webber

Publication Date: April 27, 2015

Synopsis: 

Sweet is a spinoff of Easy and Breakable from the Contours of the Heart series. It is a standalone novel. While there are a couple of mentions of characters from the first two novels, you won’t feel like you’ve missed anything if you haven’t read them.

Bad boy Boyce Wynn is everything Pearl Torres Frank shouldn’t want. He’s from the wrong side of the tracks and doesn’t care what the world thinks of him. But Pearl wants him. She always has. Pearl knows there’s more to Boyce than the tough guy everyone sees.

Now, Pearl’s home from college for summer. Before she heads off to medical school in the fall, she’s determined to have Boyce. It doesn’t matter what it may cost her.

Boyce has been fighting his obsession with Pearl forever. He’s been waiting in the wings for her to be single. Now, she’s home for the summer and it’s his chance to make his move. Can he prove to her he’s worth taking a chance on a former bad boy?

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Pearl and Boyce’s love story definitely was sweet! I loved how they had been in love with each other for years, but hadn’t really acted on it. Their shared history was a cool aspect to the story. I especially liked how Boyce pushed Pearl to make her own decisions and protected her. He won me over in Breakable, but I adored him even more in Sweet.

There were just a couple of things that held me back from giving Sweet 5 stars. One, all of the flashbacks. While I liked learning their shared history through the flashbacks, there were just too many of them. They overtook the current story at times. Two, I wasn’t 100% sold on the way the story wrapped up. I don’t want to ruin it, but it just seemed a little out there to me. It didn’t ruin the story or anything and I really liked the book. I just would have rather seen something different happen.

Other books in this series:

  

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Book That Would Be on My Syllabus if I Taught New Adult Romance 101

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s theme is Top Ten Books That Would Be On Your Syllabus If You Taught X 101 (examples: YA fantasy 101, feminist literature 101, magic in YA 101, classic YA lit 101, world-building 101). I chose New Adult Romance 101. I tried to pick different authors and different types of stories in the genre. All of these books gave me “the feels.”

Top Ten Books That Would Be On My Syllabus if I Taught New Adult Romance 101:

1. Left Drowning by Jessica Park

 Left Drowning

2. Bright Side by Kim Holden

Bright Side (Bright Side, #1)

3. Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover

Ugly Love

4. Archer’s Voice by Mia Sheridan

Archer's Voice

5. Falling Into You by Jasinda Wilder

Falling into You (Falling, #1)

6. There is No Light in Darkness by Claire Contreras

There is No Light in Darkness (Darkness, #1)

7. Broken by Lauren Layne

Broken (Redemption, #1)

8. Sincerely, Carter by Whitney G.

Sincerely, Carter

9. The Mistake by Elle Kennedy

The Mistake (Off-Campus, #2)

10. How We Deal with Gravity by Ginger Scott

What New Adult book would you add to my list? Let me know in the comments.

Wild Reckless

Wild Reckless by Ginger Scott

Publication Date: March 17, 2015

Publisher: Ginger Scott

Synopsis:

Thanks to Kensington Worth’s parents, her senior year of high school is going to suck. Instead of completing high school at her Chicago private school with her best friends, she’s stuck at a public school in the middle of nowhere. She should be practicing piano with her favorite instructor. Now, she’s practicing solo in her new dining room. It just isn’t fair. To top it all off, her new neighbor has it out for her. He’s doing everything to ruin what little she has left.

All the rumors are true. Owen Harper is trouble. Everyone knows it. He’s wild and he’s reckless. Since he’s trying to ruin Kensi’s life, she should be running in the opposite direction. But after one horrible night, she can’t stay away from him. Kensi sees things in him no one else does. She knows those rumors cover up something more, something good.

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

This book! Oh, man. I loved this book. It was soooo good. If I could give it more than 5 stars, I would. It dealt with so many issues and brought out so many feelings. I want to say more about it, but I’m at a loss for words. It’s that good. It makes me want to dump my TBR list and read the rest of Ginger Scott’s books immediately.

Wild Reckless is a contemporary romance that YA, NA and adult readers will enjoy. I think readers that love Colleen Hoover, Tammara Webber and Jessica Park will especially enjoy this Ginger Scott novel.

How We Deal with Gravity

How We Deal with GravityHow We Deal with Gravity by Ginger Scott

Publication Date: June 11, 2014

Publisher: Ginger Scott

Synopsis:

Nothing in Avery Abbot’s life has gone as planned. She dropped out of college to get married and have a baby. Then, her husband left her without a backward glance when their one-year-old son, Max, was diagnosed with autism.

Now, Avery plans her days around Max’s needs. What she wouldn’t give for someone to share her joys and pains with. But Avery knows her chance at love has passed. Or at least she thinks it has until Mason Street saunters back into town.

Mason’s spent the last five years on the road with his band, living his dream–until it all came crashing down. With a dropped record contract and nowhere else to go, he ends up back where his love for music began: the Abbot house.

While Mason’s rediscovering his love for music, he’s also learning about the kind of person he is. He thought he and Avery were friends, but her reception of him is less than friendly. Can he prove to her that he’s changed?

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

How We Deal with Gravity is the first book I’ve ever read by Ginger Scott. A friend on Goodreads suggested it for a buddy read and since I always like the books the people in the group suggest, I decided to join in. I’m so happy I did!

How We Deal with Gravity sucked me in from the Prologue. It had me close to tears. I do not have a child with autism, but I do have a nephew with it. I could totally picture my sister-in-law as Avery. The selflessness Ginger Scott gives Avery is the same selflessness I see in my sister-in-law.  It made me love Avery’s character even more.

And Mason. Oh, Mason. What a special guy. He may just be my new favorite book boyfriend. Mason starts out as kind of a jerk, but I loved the way he tackled learning that he wasn’t all that. The way treats not just Avery but the entire Abbot family warmed my heart.

The writing and storyline were spectacular. Mason and Avery’s chemistry was hot! There were even a couple of things I didn’t see coming in the story. I honestly don’t have even one complaint about it.

How We Deal with Gravity has cemented Ginger Scott’s place as one of my favorite go-to authors.  I can’t wait to read another one of her novels.

Again

Again (Fate #4) by Elizabeth Reyes

Publication Date: August 3, 2015

Synopsis:

Twenty-nine-year-old Sydney Maricopa knows what it’s like to fall in love with his best friend. He knows how much it sucks when said best friend is in love with someone else. He’s been there, done that. He’s not going through that again.

So when Sydney meets adorably hot nineteen-year-old Emi in his apartment building, he’s determined to keep things strictly platonic. One, she’s too young for him and two, their lives are too interconnected.

It doesn’t take long for Sydney to realize he’s in way over his head. He’s in love with the girl he said he wouldn’t fall for. Once again, she has a boyfriend. But this time, Sydney’s not backing down. He’s going to tell her how he feels.

Sydney’s plan to woo Emi is on track until something he never expects happens. Now, Sydney’s stuck making a decision that could ruin their friendship and possible relationship forever.

My rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

When I saw that Elizabeth Reyes was going to be releasing Again, I was super excited for a couple of reasons. One, I love Elizabeth Reyes’ books . Two, I’ve always wondered what happened to Sidney after Forever Mine (The Moreno Brother’s #1).

I’m a big fan of Elizabeth Reyes’ novels because I absolutely love the characters she creates–especially the guys. She knows how to make the best alpha males. They’re all gorgeous, sexy, sweet, strong, smart, determined and jealous. Yes, I said jealous. It feels weird to be complimenting jealousy, but the jealousy these guys exhibit is pretty hot.

Sydney was all of those things. He may not have been as “rough” as some of the other guys from The Moreno Brothers or Fate series, but Sydney was all man. It was fun to get to know him in a way other than Sarah’s friend.

The women Reyes writes are great, too. They’re all strong, independent, beautiful and they know how to put those jealous guys in their place! Emi was all of those things, but what I liked best about her was she was just so darn adorable. Well, until her jealous side came out and then she was as crazy as any other nineteen-year-old.

My favorite thing about Again was the story of how Sydney and Emi went from friend zone to romance. I loved the way the book started out and then how I was able to see the progression of their relationship. They had such great chemistry and were so adorable. It was such a fun friends to lovers story.

I wanted to give Again 5 stars really, really bad. There were just one tiny thing that bothered me a bit. I wasn’t big on Sydney’s storyline and choice near the end. It was foreshadowed, but it felt really abrupt. I guess I was thinking it was going to go in a different direction than it did. But other than that, I loved this story!

Again is a great friends to lovers story. It’s definitely for a more mature audience. I would also recommend reading Forever Mine (The Moreno Brothers #1) prior to reading Again to be familiar with Sydney’s previous storyline. (It’s FREE to download right now on Amazon!) You wouldn’t need to read the entire series before reading Again, but there are references to friends and family from both The Moreno Brothers and Fate series.

Other books in the Fate series:

Fate (Fate, #1)  Breaking Brandon (Fate, #2)  Suspicious Minds (Fate, #3)

Books in the related The Moreno Brothers series:

Forever Mine (The Moreno Brothers, #1) Forever Yours (The Moreno Brothers, #1.5) When You Were Mine (The Moreno Brothers #1.6)  Always Been Mine (The Moreno Brothers, #2) Sweet Sofie (The Moreno Brothers, #3) Romero (The Moreno Brothers, #4) Making You Mine (The Moreno Brothers, #5)  Tangled (The Moreno Brothers #5.5)